Sunderland City Council: Museum to host Scientology fundraiser this Sunday

Scientology have been granted permission to use a municipality-owned property in Sunderland to host a fundraising event for their ‘Ideal Org’ program this weekend.

According to a leaked promotional poster, which was posted on social media, the event has been dubbed “Sunderland’s Ideal Renaissance” and a “spiritual revival for the North East”. It is advertised as taking place at Sunderland Museum, which is owned by the City Council, on Sunday 21st April at 6pm and will include a “special message” from Carol Nolan who works for Scientology’s international Landlord’s Office in Los Angeles.

Sunderland Org, which a staff member described as “not very nice” when we visited back in November, is currently surrounded by scaffolding and is undergoing repair work after the roof was found to be leaking. As reported by Scientology Business last year, it is in a rather sorry state of affairs and the Org board showed us there were only 3 staff members servicing 30 members of the public.

Nonetheless, Scientology are hopeful its ‘unprecedented expansion’ will soon reach the North East. In 2007, they spent £1.5 million (£2.4 million in today’s money) on the former Windmill Hills nursing home in Gateshead and told the BBC last year it was still committed to refurbishing the property despite it standing derelict for 15 years.

The Grade-II listed property is set to become Scientology’s ‘Ideal Organisation’ for the North East and underwent what the group described as a “programme of urgent works” to “prevent further deterioration”, but is yet to see any major works and appears to still be years away from opening.

Sunday’s event is expected to be a major fundraising drive for the renovation works and despite their history of international fraudulent activity, Scientology have been permitted use of the government-owned Sunderland Museum for the occasion. Local resident and former Scientologist Danielle Chamberlin tells us: “Each and every time that Scientology is mentioned in any articles promoting themselves as being virtuous, doing good works, helping people to change their lives for the better I flinch. It’s a visceral reaction within me as it takes me right back to the Founder L. Ron Hubbard having me locked up in the chain locker of his Flagship Apollo when I was 12 years old, or when I was raped at aged 14 and told “I pulled it in” and was not allowed to report it to law enforcement.”

Scientology’s new Gateshead premises has sat empty for 16 years after it was purchased for £1.5 million in 2007.

“I was child trafficked to the ship without my parents, and now the latest incident sees the local Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens allowing Scientology to book a room on their premises in order to raise funds to refurbish their large derelict building in Gateshead.” She continues, “I urge the Council to take stock, and to please find out about the inherent dangers of allowing a cult like this to operate in the local area.”

We contacted Sunderland City Council for an explanation as to why Scientology have been allowed to use their property for a fundraising event despite their history of fraud internationally, and they issued the following statement: “In common with many organisations, the City Council hires out rooms in its venues to a wide range of groups and organisations throughout the year.”

Protestors are expected to gather outside Sunderland Museum at 4pm on Sunday carrying the message: “Abuse in Scientology must stop.”

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Alexander Barnes-Ross

Scientology Business provides analysis and commentary on the Church of Scientology's corporate structure, business operations and functions in the United Kingdom and Europe. The website looks at Scientology's shell companies, financial records and maps the web of international corporate entities responsible for their UK and European activities.

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